A 14° lean distinguishes the Italian home of the Hypo-Alpe-Adria bank from most corporate headquarters. Designed by LA-based practice Morphosis, the offices are also in an unusually rural setting in sight of the Dolomite mountains, outside Udine in north-east Italy. Morphosis principal Thom Mayne describes the choice of the suburban locale as “very USA”.
The building overhangs the rest of the site, its facade breaking at different angles from the ground plane. “We tilted the vertical axis to create a different idea of a building’s relationship to the land,” says Mayne.
The seven-storey structure has a long, thin footprint only 14m wide, corresponding with the angle of the incline. This narrowness means that every room can have daylight and a view, and allows for cross-ventilation.
The interior lays great emphasis on the different flows of movement around it. This narrative starts with a long driveway that leads up to and then carves through the front of the building, while pedestrians are siphoned into a dramatic concrete and glass entrance. Above this juncture, an atrium rises up through the building to a glazed skylight. This space is crossed by a series of staircases and bridges so that the building conveys what Mayne calls “a continuum of automobile and pedestrian traffic”.
Meanwhile, the masterplan of the site provides public amenities for the nearby town of Tavagnacco, including a swimming pool, football pitch and park, and also includes a day-care centre for employees.